PRINCETON — STARZ Performing Arts Academy will be hosting their annual Spring Showcase tonight and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton.
This year’s theme is “Ambition,” and STARZ owner Gabrielle Massie is very excited for her students to perform.
“We are very excited,” said Massie. “We have over 70 numbers choreographed by our faculty of eight, and we have dancers anywhere from age three to 24.”
Massie said there will be different shows both nights, and the performances will include dancers, singers, acrobats and aerialists.
“The Friday show will also be Senior Night, so we’ll be celebrating our two graduating seniors before they go off into the world,” she added.
STARZ has been having this showcase since their opening in 2000 when Massie’s mother first opened the Academy in Bluefield, West Virginia. It has since moved and expanded.
“We currently have a 6,000 square foot space in the Green Valley Mini Mall,” said Massie.
Massie has been a part of the company since the beginning before taking over the ownership.
“My mom started it in 2000 when I was in seventh or eighth grade, so I’ve been with it the whole time,” said Massie. “I’ve been the owner for 12 years now, this is my twelfth year.”
STARZ is endorsed by the Mercer County Commission for performing arts and is currently the only dance company in the area with it.
They have several professional dancers that have come from STARZ, and currently have a senior continuing there dance career at the Institute for American Musical Theater.
Massie also feels that the Academy has closed the gap between high school dance and pre-professional dance that way the dancer that come from STARZ are more equip to handle the performing schools and professional dance.
“With our older dancers especially, I have found in the last few years, we’ve been able to bridge that gap between pre-pro and our students adventuring into the real world,” she said.
The dancers also praise Massie for hers and the rest of the Academy’s efforts in getting them opportunities for a career in dance.
Senior dancer Hannah McMillion said, “I am going to the Institute for American Musical Theater in New York City to continue performing, and that couldn’t be possible without STARZ. I definitely thank them for that.”
McMillion will be going on a $46,000 scholarship, and she is just one of many getting scholarships.
“This season, in addition to all of the college scholarships and summer scholarships that our students have received, we have collected around $30,000 in scholarships to give to our students for the upcoming season,” said Massie.
The dancers also comment on the “family environment” that STARZ has within the academy.
“It’s been really good here,” said dancer Isabella Atwell. “The people here are very welcoming when you first come here, and it’s a very positive environment.”
McMillion added, “Everyone is like sisters, brothers, and parent to each other.”
Both dancers said they are most excited about dancing with their friends, and showing people their hard work.
They also said their favorite part of STARZ is getting to spend time with the other students and faculty.
“I love being with my friends and knowing I have something to come to at the end of the day,” said McMillion. “Even if it’s been a rough day, I can always just come to STARZ and have something to look forward to because it’s my happy place
Atwell added, “They are my closest friends, and I love doing this and being able to dance with them.”
Ticket for the showcase are $12 and can be purchased online at their website dancewithestarz.com or at the door upon arrival to the performance.